User adoption for new business systems

You’ve just invested considerable capital into your new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and now it seems your workforce are very reluctant to use it. There it is, all up and running, sorting all that brilliant data taken from your sales and customer interactions, and you can’t maximise the benefit to your organisation because your staff are wedded to the old way of doing things? It’s a common scenario, but one that can be overcome.
Unfortunately, you’ll always have some staff who are resistant to change; the ‘we’ve always done it this way’, and the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’, brigades are present in every work environment. Usually they’re the older staff, whose insights and experience are more valuable than their willingness to adapt, but for the most part staff will reluctantly adapt to a new system and six weeks later it’ll seem as if they’ve never used anything else. But it’s not always so straightforward.
What if there’s a genuine reluctance to adapt to the new technology? The problem may be less about the staff and more about the system.

User interfaces

When we’re designing and implementing major business systems, we put a lot of time and energy into the user interface on the customer-facing end of our technology. More often than not, a new public-facing web interface will keep a team busy for months whilst they achieve the perfect layout. People will be arguing over the smallest details, colours and fonts, and generally be engineering the feel of the corporate shop window.
But how much of this time and energy is spent on the internal systems? It’s a common occurrence; you’ve got a fantastic company website bursting with colour and vibrancy, but then you walk round the office and your staff are inputting data on a battleship-grey boilerplate.
Now consider your staff. What do they do when they get home? Many will go online and do some shopping, log into social media or watch an online movie. In short, they’re using other people’s customer-facing web tools all the time. Your staff are as used to dealing with external applications as they are with internal ones. They react the same way to the systems they’re using as your customers do, so if you’re not careful as external technologies grow and develop, internal ones can become somewhat staid; they may even appear obsolete compared to other everyday interfaces.

User experience

So, that’s the crux of the matter. Your customers are not the only consumers of your system interfaces; your employees are too. These are the ordinary people who use websites every day, so they know as much as anyone else about what makes a user-friendly interface. As consumers of information technology they’ll be turned off working with internal systems for exactly the same reasons as your customers may be put off using your external ones. If they find a tedious interface with over-complicated menus and structure, you’ll be answering increasing numbers of help desk calls whilst staff engagement and morale will plummet.
For this reason, the user experience is just as important a concept for internal systems as it is for the customer-facing products. All your intranets and software applications need to provide some quality of user experience. Sure, they don’t necessarily need to sell you as an organisation in quite the same way as the external sites, but with your staff using the whole range of websites outside work, they can reasonably expect to find the internal work tools they use every day to be as intuitive as those that dominate the online world outside.
Staff can be loyal and dedicated, but data entry can be a dull task for anyone. No matter how effective the backend of your new CRM is, if the user interface is lacking in intuitive design, your staff will find it difficult to maintain their interest. As a result, your productivity will decrease, thus causing negative repercussions all round.
Teams will be far more effective and beneficial to your company when working with modern, innovative and interesting tools. Design your systems with this as a central consideration to maximise user adoption in the long run.
Ribbonfish implement CRM applications that are both functional and usable. Our tools directly impact your productivity as an organisation. To find out how we can do this for you, contact us today.